What I Learned at North Coast: 5 Moves Every DJ Makes

What I Learned at North Coast: 5 Moves Every DJ Makes

Over Labor Day weekend I luxuriated in the VIP of the North Coast Music Festival thanks to my press pass. One of the perks was access to the VIP section in the crowd for every stage. You can see it on the map displayed here- it's basically the front left (if you're standing on the stage) section of the crowd, off the corner of the stage.  So I checked out a few of DJ's, namely Paul Oakenfold, Axwell, Steve Angello and Alesso. I'm far from an expert on techno music but I also recently saw David Guetta and I remember being two inches from the stage for Benny Benassi last year as well, so I've at least seen a few.

But since a DJ has so fewer moving parts than, say, Guns N Roses, there isn't nearly as much of a visual spectacle to see and that results in two things: 1) DJ's trying their best to show their physical exuberance in an attempt to make their work both sonically and visually impressive. And, 2) If you're a bad dancer like me you just watch the DJ and start to pick up on things. Especially when you're so close you can't see their light show properly anyway.

 

1. Oh my GOD!!!! I'm about to turn this knob!!!!!!!!

You know this one. They turn their elbow egregiously out while their jaw falls agape coyly  like they're about to release a cubic ton of $100 from the rafters in a second but no one knows it but him.Then they open their mouth fully and turn the knob.

2. BOOM! I just turned that knob, motherf*%ker!!

Finally, the sweet catharsis of the knob turning as we are hit with the new sound. While this is happening,  one popular DJ move is for the DJ to punch the air, and make a gesture as to tell the crowd, "I told you I was gonna turn that knob! BOOM! Then what happened?? BOOM! You're damn right I was right to make a big deal about turning that knob!"

3. The Post-Knob Step Back

When some football players score they do a choreographed endzone celebration, while others just hand the ball to the referee. The DJ version of the later is the gentlemanly turn the knob and take a step back. Not only do they want to give the crowd a chance to bask in the new sound, but they're probably pretty ready for a break after turning that knob.

4. I AM YOUR GOD!!!

At some point just about every DJ does that one. It's the both hands up, "PRAISE ME!!!" pose. The I AM YOUR GOD above is courtesy of David Guetta.

5. The Stand Back and Clap Along With the Crowd

Even though they are not doing sign language, what they are really telling us with their hands is something like, "I'm just gonna clap right along with you guys. Hey, I'm just a fan too, man. And let's face it this is awesome music. Ok,  enough clapping time to get back to the turntables."

 

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  • fb_avatar

    You should not have even gone. This is an awful article. Go talk shit about other things because no one wants to hear this nonsense from someone who doesn't appreciate or respect the scene or it's artists. It's a shame this VIP experience was wasted on you.

  • fb_avatar

    Amen Mac.

  • This is a list that actually doesn't matter due to Xtreme ignorance, and yes the capital X is warranted in the case.

    1. You got press passes! That means free beer, drink some, loosen up, u have more fun and probably wont be such a jerk and might notice everyone was enjoying the crap out of that 3 day party.

    2.the djs dont have enough moving parts for you. You were at the red bull stage, just watch the lights, dont talk, dont type.

    3. Your 12&3 is describing the drop, its the leading edge of a high point in the track. Did notice when the dj punched the air everyone did together? Because we were all partying together, except you.

    4. The majority of djs understand whole heartedly that their not gods and their nothing without their fans.

    5. Go to a football game and stay there you dont belong at festivals.

    Good day sir.

  • fb_avatar

    This list isn't nearly as cynical as you folks are making it out to be. I think he was going more for humor than criticism. Let's not overlook one simple fact, though: He's right. All of the "DJs" that he mentioned are producers first, performers second, and DJs.....sorta. All of their live mixes are prearranged. When you go to see their shows, you are not paying for live production, unless you count the guys doing the lights and the people that put the sound together. The guys on stage are providing tracks, loops, and samples that they have already finely tuned, and their personalities, with a dash of controllerism. It's not about musicianship, it's a party with a guy on stage telling you when to get excited. If you can accept that, or are ignorant of that to begin with, this is not a problem. For those of us who have made music, have been on the decks, or are simply very astute observers, it's going to take a bit more to float our boats.

  • How can anyone be offended by this article? I am pretty into EDM and travel to Ultra, and EDC. And I though this article was Hillarious!! You are spot on with your observations! I think EDM lovers tend to get defensive because our form of music has been ridiculed for so long. But just because we really love EDM, it doesn't mean we can't joke around about it. I loved this music when it was underground, and I love it just as much now, no matter how many people joke about it. And if the observations and jokes are funny like these... I even laugh too! LOL. Great article.

  • Now, that being said, I do have to wonder what kind of "journalist" you want to be? If you were into EDM and the scene your work would be so much more respected/meaningful if you described respective artists sets. Talked about how they left certain songs out. Or talked about how EDM is getting so saturated that many dj's are playing practically the same sets with same songs. I thought your article was definately funny, bit meaningless and shallow. But if your understanding of EDM and it's artists is that small that you've only seen a few dj's (as you put it) than I guess this is your best attempt to write a scene you know nothing about.

  • In reply to Edmluvr:

    Thank you for your measured reply, edmluvr. I'm not a journalist or a music expert and was just trying to write about a funny article about some musicians I find talented, but freely admit not knowing much about. I was glad that you read the article as it was intended.

    My only goal here was to write a list that made people laugh;
    I have left the insightful musical commentary to people like you and the other edm fans that commented above. Thanks for reading.

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